Professor Dale Sanders, John Innes Centre, Norwich
“The Plant Lytic Vacuole: Space-Filler, Garbage Bag, or Something More Interesting?”
The lytic vacuole of plant cells is typically represented in text books as a contributor to cell turgor and as a repository for potentially toxic solutes in plants. However, as a storage compartment, the role of the vacuole takes on special significance with respect to human nutrition for provision of essential micronutrients such as zinc. As a cellular repository for calcium – itself a toxic element - the role of the lytic vacuole is becoming prominent as a compartment critical for calcium-dependent cellular signalling processes. Therefore, the vacuole is playing an increasingly recognised role in responses to both abiotic and biotic challenges to plant homeostasis. Recent unpublished work will focus on these various roles of the lytic vacuole, while confirming the traditional picture as a garbage bag – but in an unexpected way!